Showing items filed under “Christy Gammon”
Scripture provides a generous display of God’s heart for the orphan, along with His invitation for each of us to participate: Come. Defend. Give. Help. Look After. Rescue. Share. Sustain. Testify.
Thanks to Vineyard Columbus and the all-volunteer More4Orphans ministry, there is a time and a place to let these words take shape in our lives – changing each of us, and the landscape of our world’s orphan crisis, forever.
More4Orphans Summit 2014 gathered people from at least 10 states and more than 50 churches to do more for the 400,000 American children who live in foster care and the approximately 153 million children worldwide who are orphans.
I heard incredibly moving testimonies. “Live, little girl, live…” These words from Stephanie Fast, survivor of abandonment and abuse, believer in the awesome sovereignty of God, still ring in my ears. “How do you join God in what He is doing? You love someone,” said Alen Auguste, who grew up in the foster care system and now serves Vineyard Columbus as a youth pastor. “All along, this story and this journey has not been about [our church], but rather about what God can do through us when we function as the body of Christ,” offered Darlene Rudrick as she and Gwen Higaki shared the story of how their churches combined offerings to build children’s homes in Cambodia. “Where we put a period, God puts a comma. Mmm. Mmm. Mmm. You can’t tell God what to do,” preached author and pastor Bishop W. C. Martin. His story is one of the premier foster adoption stories in America.
I had a hard time choosing from 50 breakout sessions, with topics like “Orphan Care and the Church,” “Why Should I Foster, Why Should I Care?” and “The Reluctant Dads Panel.” I witnessed so many sweet connections at the exhibitor tables representing local, national and international organizations including Christian Alliance for Orphans, Big Brothers Big Sisters of central Ohio and Both Hands. I prayed and worshipped and appreciated the art that was auctioned to benefit adoption and outreach.
I was stretched, broken, encouraged and empowered and I was in good company. The responses from attendees are as divine and diverse as our Father’s call. Families are planning mission trips together; college students are signing up for internships to provide educational opportunities in children’s homes around the world; individuals are reaching out to foster children through mentoring; some are filling out adoption paperwork; groups of friends are raising money by helping widows, running in races and selling baked goods; others are starting orphan care ministries in their churches; and more.
I have heard the words, “What a wonderful opportunity! I love that the focus is on God calling us and not over-emphasizing one group.” One attendee wrote to me, “This conference helped to reaffirm what God has already been stirring in my heart – to care for the orphan through fostering. Thank you for providing a space to process, network, pray, dream and invest.” A dad confessed, “Cost has been why I’ve dragged my feet on adoption. This weekend reminded me it’s God’s money, not mine. And, he’s directing me to use it on adoption. My fiscal frame of reference was wrong.” And my new friend Kristina beamed, “Awesome, incredible, motivating, life-changing event. I traveled from Cincinnati and took off work for this event – best investment of my time.”
Musical guest Audio Adrenaline took the stage on Friday night. Through their Hands & Feet Project, they serve orphans in Jacmel, Haiti. During their opening song, images of joyful, purple-drenched children splashed the main screens, the building shook in reply to 100-decibels of heart-pounding worship and our walls absorbed the words, “Boys become kings, girls will be queens, wrapped in Your majesty”. This place became Holy ground as His invitation was accepted, not if, but “when we love the least of these.” Lord, let it be so. And more, Lord.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about foster care, adoption or orphan care, attend an upcoming More4Orphans meeting at Vineyard Community Center or connect online at Facebook.
Christy Gammon is a member of Vineyard Columbus and volunteer with More4Orphans.
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They came with empty bellies. Following a moving service of teaching, worship and prayer, they stood in a long line to take part in a simple meal and they gave thanks.
On any given day, this could describe the plight of only the luckiest of orphans – certainly not all of the 143 million of our world’s most vulnerable children. On November 4, 2012, this described the scene at Joshua House as we gathered to observe Orphan Sunday.
Orphan Sunday is an international event, championed by the Christian Alliance for Orphans. This year marked the event’s tenth anniversary as individuals, families and churches all over the world participated in various ways: experiencing a typical orphan’s meal (a 4 oz. serving of a protein-packed rice and beans mixture), raising awareness for the orphan issue, and raising funds to help children in need.
Joshua House partnered with Vineyard Columbus ministry More4Orphans to encourage and inspire us to find out what “more” looks like in each of our lives.
The 2012 Orphan Sunday video, highlighting foster care, adoption, and global orphan care, was punctuated by a live testimony from local speaker, Mandy Litzke, and her son, Chase. Chase, who is from Liberia, is one of sixteen Litzke children and one of fourteen the family has adopted.
Pastor Jonathan Rue prayed and preached that seeds would be planted deeply in our hearts, that we would grasp our status as adopted sons and daughters into the Kingdom of God, and that we would someday respond to God’s extravagant grace by extending the gift of adoption to an orphan.
Throughout the message, Joshua House volunteers slowly piledshoes onto tables at each end of the stage. Jonathan announced that the 280 shoes represented the number of children who became orphans just as he was speaking.
During worship, we were invited to commit to pray for an orphaned child by choosing a photo from a prayer wall made up of more than 500 beautiful faces.
Following the service, in exchange for a 4 oz. scoop of a simple rice and beans meal, donations were collected for Cincinnati-based Kids Against Hunger, a project of A Child’s Hope International. The organization has 1 million meals packed onto pallets, awaiting the funds needed to ship the meals to Zambia, Africa.
At the end of the evening, we celebrated that 500 people attended the event, that every photo from the prayer wall was gone, and that $7,100 was donated, which translates into 20 pallets of food, or 142,560 meals!
I will always remember the day I visited the small rural village of Kawama, outside N’Dola, on my first mission trip to Zambia, in 2007. As we worked, we noticed the children playing in a nearby field and a terrible realization washed over us; they won’t eat today.
It’s so overwhelming for me, so deeply satisfying, and I’ve found, so true to the heart of God the Father, that for the children who receive these meals, they WILL eat today, and the next. And maybe, just maybe, if the concept of this special day catches on, someday there won’t have to be an Orphan Sunday anymore. – Christy Gammon
Photos by Laura Pugh
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There is a harsh reality in my world – it’s the plight of the orphan. As an adoptive Mom, I know the abundance of God’s blessings every time I hold His child – my child. As a wife who regularly sends her husband out into the mission field, I experience the depth and breadth of God’s provision and love as He steps in as Father – my Father and Abba Father of us all.
My prayer is that I wouldn’t stick out or feel alone in the choices and sacrifices my family and I have made in response to the One who calls us (see James 1:27). There are so many children. There is so much need. There is so much more to be done.
On March 9 and 10, 2012, this humble prayer was answered. I was surrounded!
More than 800 people attended the first annual More4Orphans Summit, hosted by Vineyard Columbus, hearing from seven main speakers, choosing from 23 breakout sessions and visiting 26 exhibitors as well as experiencing powerful worship and prayer. The event focused on three tracts: global orphan care, domestic and international adoption, and foster care.
Dr. Wess Stafford, President and CEO of Compassion International, put fist to podium as he demonstrated the indignation of Jesus on behalf of little children. He joined so many others from local, national and international organizations who together shared personal messages of hope and practical ways to help.
Eyes were opened. Questions were answered. Hearts were stirred.
During the weekend, there was a theme that echoed throughout the auditorium, up and down the rows of tables in the lobby, out of the breakout rooms and into the community center: “We must do more!”
- The Summit was attended by 300 more people than what was projected, so moreregistration packets were created.
- Break-out sessions were filled to more-than capacity, so more chairs were delivered to the community center.
- Titles on the recommended reading list and CD recordings of the main sessions were sold out, so more resources are on-order in the bookstore.
Yes! And, more Lord…
- One woman, who had the opportunity to spend a rare day off at home, found herself being pulled back to Day Two of the Summit. During her early morning prayer time, she reached for her copy of Richard Stearns’ The Hole in Our Gospel and began to weep after reading just of . “I knew I had to go back,” she said. At the end of the afternoon, she held proudly to the card with her sponsored child’s picture on it. “I can’t wait to write to her and visit her someday,” she said.
- “This was so great, thank you! I feel like God is leading me to stop buying coffee in the morning and use that money to sponsor a child.”
- “God has been breaking my heart with what breaks His this weekend… I feel moved to place my fears on His alter and say YES to Him. I learned so much and experienced God’s presence moving me to action.”
- “I came here because for the past decade I have known that God wants me to be involved with orphans… adopt, advocate, save, serve, all of it? I feel like I could go in so many directions. I feel alive again! Praise you Jesus!”
- “God has shown me that I can make a difference by just starting with one child.”
- “The Holy Spirit was very evident in every aspect.”
Just like this post, this ministry began with prayer. Only 10 months ago, I started praying and meeting with a small group of women who dared to envision what an orphan ministry might look like in our church, what an orphan summit might look like in our community. Today we continue to stand (or shall I say kneel) in awe over how God has moved – bringing the speakers, the presenters, the exhibitors, the attendees and so much more…bringing His kingdom.
Our prayer now? Lord, let this event be so much more than an amazing thing we did one weekend. Let it be life-changing. Let it be world-changing. Let it be just the beginning of the more You have in mind!
A man approached the event’s emcee as he stepped down from the stage on Saturday morning. “I’m looking forward to coming back in 10 years and hearing all the stories of what people have done as a result of this event,” he said.
In the words of Vineyard Community Center Pastor and More4Orphans champion Kerry Davis: me, too.
More4Orphans is a call to the Church and community to do more to care for the orphans among us. More action, more adoptions, more foster families, more care, more funding, more awareness, more sponsoring of children, all building toward more hope. God’s call is clear and one we can no longer ignore. We must do more. – Christy Gammon
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